I don't advocate any particular eating routine, to be honest. However, what I took this from article and what I DO advocate, is the importance of staying in motion. The importance of setting goals for one's physical activity levels, and sticking with them. Physical activity and balanced eating IS preventative healthcare. It is what keeps us strong and mentally acute, and keeps any tendency toward chronic disease at bay. Striving to stay active and strong makes us better at life. ❤️
A word on activity and exercise. There was a time, not so long ago, when if I didn't do x amount of hard physical activity on a non rest day, the activity that I *did* do, didn't count, in my mind. Today, several years into this journey, the stars have aligned to allow me four uninterrupted hours of skiing in Virginia's Shenandoah Valley. Is it going to be crazy high intensity? Probably not. However, the reality is that I am still moving my body in a way that makes me happy. I am staying active, I am using my muscles, and all of that fully and completely COUNTS. Being healthy in mind and body involves finding activity that makes you happy, and finding joy in moving your body in all types of different ways. It's a matter of balance. Do I still need to get in some hard physical training this week in order to support my goals? Yes. Will I enjoy that training too, because it makes me feel strong and healthy? Yes! Exercise doesn't have to feel like punishment in order to be useful and effective! What will you do today to stay active and happy??
A super important reminder, even if you aren't stepping on the scale 10 times per day; even if it's only a few times per week, or even less. If it is directing how you feel about yourself and how you treat your body, this is well worth reading and trying to keep in mind. You are worth so much more than the number your scale. Thanks to Abby Langer nutrition for a great post!
My experience with moderation during the big game? Enjoying my crackers and chips with buffalo chicken dip, with a big side of celery. Genuinely, when I realize it's the crunch I am looking for, or the motion of snacking, I have a different option immediately at hand. Nothing wrong with the chips, but #moderation and #balance are always a win. Options, not restriction!! :)
Your emotional well-being impacts everything in your life, including your physical health and fitness. When you're emotionally tapped out, your mental acuity and motivation is lowered, making everything more challenging, including your decisions about food and exercise. When you aren't feeding your body what it needs, and you aren't moving enough, your emotional well-being suffers. It's a tough cycle. Take a break for self-care today, if you need it, and know that it is perfectly acceptable. Do something you genuinely enjoy and wholeheartedly count it as your movement for the day. You and your mind and you body deserve your love.
A solid discussion from the National Academy of Sports Medicine (one of my certifying agencies) on the drawbacks of a "diet", and some wiser approaches. (Please note that the sample meal plan listed is a sample, not a recommendation!) Don't forget that MBHF also offers grocery store trips to help demystify shopping to stock a healthy pantry. See yesterday's post for additional ideas!
An excellent list of essential pantry items! Movement that you love, partnered with a balanced, healthy way of eating, are two of the biggest steps to moving forward in your health and fitness journey! MBHF does not promote any kind of diet or food plan. Mindful, intuitive eating that respects what your body needs each day, and includes all the foods that you love (and not some watered down version of them either) is where it's at! Check out www.loveandfoodforeva.com to get great recipes that will make eating well feel like a luxury!
I want to share something that is really important and meaningful to me. The first photo you see here is in the format of a traditional "transformation" photo. It is set up to look like a "before and after". A few years ago, I looked at this photo in that way. I want to be clear though, that I share this photo now, in this setting, to make a couple of important points.
1) This is not "before and after". This is simply a reflection of two different points in my life. As a little background: I grew up as an athlete, competing in gymnastics, cheerleading, skiing, and tennis. I stayed active into my adulthood, but in 2007, about a year out of grad school, I lost hold of my workout schedule, and began to gain weight. By the end of 2010, I was up about 50 pounds and had no idea how it had even happened. Fortunately, a friend introduced me to the boxing team at the local Marine Corps base, and helped me establish some routine. My first day back in the gym was pretty awful, haha. It took me two hands to close my car door at the end of the workout, and I am pretty sure that I was sore for a week. I started boxing 3-4 days per week, and trying to get back into running. In short, I began to move more. In 2011, i re-injured my knee and had to have my third knee surgery. It took me about a year to rehab, and in 2012, I completed a Spartan Super, 12+ miles of an obstacle course race, and I was feeling pretty good. In the photo on the left, taken in 2013, I was down about 20 pounds in the course of about two years, and I had just finished running a 5k. I was active, my bloodwork was healthy, and I was happy, but also aware that I was not eating enough veggies, not eating in a planful way (I couldn't give you a clue what I was eating day to day), and not drinking nearly enough water. In the photo on the right, about a year later, I had begun to really focus on those aspects. I had trained myself up to running 10 miles but had recently gotten injured and was unable to run. As a result, I had started to focus on and better understand weight lifting. I also became very careful about what I was eating, and to be completely honest, began to implement and try to follow a ton of "food rules". I was afraid to eat carbs, then I was trying to eat very low fat, high protein, then I was trying to eat only full fat, then I was worried about processed meats, then I was avoiding high sugar fruits, then I was only eating things with fewer than 5 ingredients, and the list goes on... My eating became too much of a focus, and being healthy ceased to be fun. I got lucky and was able to surround myself with people who had experienced this level of confusion around food, and having a healthy relationship with it, and over time, began to let go of all of those "rules", and morals around "good" and "bad" food. I finally started to learn how to eat in ways that supported my goals. In other words, I was burning a lot, and starting to understand that being highly active meant that i needed to EAT, and eat a full range of foods, in a balanced, meaningful way. I started paying attention to that concept and trying to eat in ways that made sense for me, without making me feel restricted or anxious. I was eating more calories on a daily basis in the second picture, than I was in the first one. I was planful about that. My point here is that the photo on the left is not "bad", and the photo on the right is not "good". They are simply two different stages in my life, reflective of different goals, different knowledge, and different tools.
2) The real transformation that has occurred cannot be captured in pictures. Soon after the picture on the right was taken, I trained for and ran my first triathlon. I had to spend an entire summer in a swimsuit, and on race day, run around in front of hundreds of people in said swimsuit. It was terrifying. I include a photo from that day, because when I first saw it, the first thing that I saw was the size of my legs, and I wasn't super happy. Then I paused and looked again - the transformation in my life over these last few years, and 45 pounds, is that when I saw my legs in that photo, I realized how STRONG they are, how CAPABLE they are, what they DO for me every single day, and I was floored. Since that time, I have started to see things in a different way. I focus much less on how my body looks, and much more on what it can DO. My weight has fluctuated a little bit since that first triathlon, and now I am able to understand those fluctuations, and connect them to my behaviors and my choices. My health is no longer a random series of events. I have tools under my belt now, that help me make decisions and set goals. I also EAT. I eat all foods, and I try to eat in a way that makes me feel fulfilled, strong, and happy. Am I still a work in progress? You better believe it, but now I know that I have the tools to keep moving in a direction that makes me feel good, and that is powerful to me.
I share all of this here because I want to tell some of my story. Once I started to figure out how to take control of my health and fitness, the social worker in me couldn't help but try to share that experience with others. I have fielded hundreds of questions over the last few years, and becoming certified as a trainer in order to give real, science and evidence-based guidance, seemed an incredibly natural transition for me. I opened MBHF in order to continue to share this knowledge and provide real coaching and skill development to anyone who wants to experience this type of transformation - the kind where you come out truly loving and accepting yourself and your capabilities.
#fitness #realtransformation #health #lifestylechange #strong #mindbodyhealthandfitness #realtalk